We’ve covered several of McFarlane Toys’ action figures recently, but it is also becoming known for their construction sets. Originally starting with The Walking Dead, these sets were designed to be like the darker, edgier cousin to LEGO — and today we’ll be reviewing the latest line!
You’ve probably heard of Five Nights At Freddy’s (FNAF), Scott Cawthon’s simple horror game that exploded in popularity because of its disturbing lore. Starring the cutesy animatronic mascots of a Chuck E Cheese-like restaurant chain, the PC gaming world (and let’s play viewers) turned it into a phenomenon. It also happens to be the subject of McFarlane’s new construction sets.
PACKAGING: 4 OUT OF 5
The uniform packaging is incredibly bright, primarily white with a large red banner stretching across the front and side panels of the box. It immediately calls to mind a traditional pizza parlor with its colors, particularly the banner’s red and black checkerboard pattern. That makes perfect sense, because most of the FNAF games either take place inside Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza or are related to it in some way.
The packaging also conveys some of the same duality of the games themselves, seeming colorful despite the grinning, creepy characters displayed all over. Photos of the set you purchase adorn the front and half of the back, while the back also previews the other FNAF construction sets available in stores. While some of these sets contain multiple mini figures of the FNAF animatronics, only one of them will come assembled and displayed through a nice window on the front of the box.
The pieces inside are divided within multiple clear plastic bags. At first I assumed it was to gauge your progress during the building process, but they actually seem to be sorted by size rather than a more useful method. The instruction booklets are crammed in alongside the pieces, leading to pages being creased or slightly torn — and since sticker sheets or other similar items are placed inside the booklets, that’s a problem. The Pirate Cove curtains were a casualty of this, being crinkled halfway into a ball.
For those of you who prefer packaging to be entirely “collector friendly,” that isn’t the case here. Tape must be cut to open the box, and the plastic bags are not resealable. I don’t see that as a negative for items like these, but it’s worth noting.
ASSEMBLY: 3 OUT OF 5
Assuming you played with LEGO or Mega Bloks as a kid, you know what to do. Most of the pieces snap together easily and without problems, aside from the narrow tile strips that are occasionally tricky to place on top of other pieces. The pictures inside the instruction booklet are large, clear, and easy to understand.
However, problems arose with non-brick pieces. I previously mentioned the Pirate Cove curtains and, aside from being crumpled, they are printed on flat pieces of glossy paper. If you want them to look as they do on the box, you have to slowly and methodically fold them by hand. You must also take care when putting them onto the rod, as they can tear. Likewise, the party streamers and birthday banner from the Show Stage set were printed on thin sheets of clear, flexible plastic. The edges are perforated to make removal easy, but the string of silver stars broke with slight pressure. Supposedly these sets are for ages 8+, but younger fans will need some assistance with this portion of the building process.
The same could be said of any stickers, as most of them are quite tiny and may require tweezers to apply. As you will likely notice in my photos, I left most of The Show Stage decals on the sheet because, if The Office showed me anything, I’ll just muck it up. Despite that, more skillful individuals will either use them to top off the game accuracy, or simply customize each set to their liking.
SCULPTING: 5 OUT OF 5
McFarlane Toys, from the very beginning way back in 1994, has been known for its gritty paint jobs and excellent sculpted details. Neither of those points are typically attributed to construction sets of any kind, but these items excel in both categories.
The Show Stage set is especially noteworthy. Its floor (like several other sets) is made up of black and white tile pieces, each one looking weathered and cracked with nice details. The wall behind the stage is comprised of interlocking panels made to look like stones, and the way they were designed to seamlessly connect is pretty ingenious. However, the best aspects of every set are the unique items and knick knacks which decorate each scene, like the Pirate Cove’s ship wheel, The Office’s fan and security monitors, the mascot heads included with the Backstage set. My favorite aspect is actually the construction bricks themselves, which were mixed with black dye during the production process to simulate dirt and grime without the need for extra paint. The effect is pretty convincing.
Appropriately, the most care and attention was used for the articulated mini figures of the FNAF cast. It may not come through in my photos, but in person the plastic heads, bodies, and arms truly look like they’re covered in felt. A subtle black wash of paint further accentuates the details and adds to the illusion. Their eyes, perhaps the most important part of the characters, are accurately large and bright, yet sunken into black pits to further sell their nature as possessed animatronics. Best of all, you can see the silver endoskeleton inside each of their mouths — which you can also open and close to better see this detail, or remove the heads entirely to mix n’ match pieces. In fact, younger fans may take plenty of delight in building their own FNAF monstrosity by pulling apart each character and reassembling them, Frankenstein-style. However, improper handling of small parts may lead to breakages.
I do have some nitpicks too, of course. The floor tiles look good as-is, but a black wash would definitely make a huge difference to bring out those tiny details. As great as the mini figures look (and they’re actually my favorite from any other brand), the smooth legs and backsides look odd compared to the rest of their design. The brim of Golden Freddy’s hat is also unpainted, while the top of his head seems to have caught the black paint that missed it. Lastly, my Foxy’s head is also extremely loose, which means it slides off the endoskeleton head when turned upside down.
All of those are minor issues in my eyes, and do nothing to affect the value. Speaking of which…
VALUE: 5 OUT OF 5
I haven’t looked into any construction sets since I was a kid (aside from eyeballing Lego Dimensions from time to time) and I was shocked at the price commanded by every brand. Above you will see several items I bought for the sake of comparison: a Mega Bloks Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Leonardo, and a LEGO Mighty Micros Flash vs. Captain Cold set.
Leonardo cost a whopping $4.99, and includes nothing but a buildable display stand and his two swords. The LEGO Mighty Minis set was $10.99, and consists of two vehicles, two short characters, and one or two accessories for both figures.
McFarlane’s smallest set, Pirate Cove, is $12.99 according to McFarlane.com. For that money you get an incredibly detailed mini figure, and a pretty great little scene with realistically sculpted wooden floors, unique decorations, and paper curtains that open and close for different display options. It can also be connected to other Five Nights at Freddy’s sets to recreate the restaurant setting from the game. Even if you have no interest in FNAF, these pieces are fully compatible with LEGO and Mega Bloks bricks — further adding to the value for adults, and playability for kids.
Considering the love and effort that went into making these things so perfect for fans of the series, that seems like a great price when judged against other brands.
THE VERDICT: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
In my eyes, collectibles are either highly recommended, just for fans of the property, or not recommended at all. These are highly recommended based on their great looks, value, and fun factor. I’m not even a big fan of FNAF, but will definitely be keeping my eye out for the next wave of McFarlane’s products, as well as any other construction sets they make in the future. Any one of these would look great on your desk or a shelf, and even better when combined with the other available sets. These are appearing in stores now, and can also be pre-ordered and purchased at the McFarlane Toys Store.
In addition to the construction sets, McFarlane Toys also produces an 8-Bit Buildable Figure series based on Five Nights at Freddy’s. There isn’t a whole lot to say about them, as they are made up of around a dozen bricks each and have basic paint applications to match the in-game counterparts. They will run you $3.50-$4.99 depending on where you get them, and while they are larger than I expected (see photo above), I’m not very enamored with them.
Each one includes a display base, plus extra yellow pieces to build Golden Freddy once all seven characters have been purchased. Sadly, Golden Freddy doesn’t have a base and falls over if you so much as breathe wrong. These guys also aren’t as accurate to the in-game versions (seen in Five Nights at Freddy’s 4’s mini-games) as they perhaps could be. The most diehard fans will want them, but others will likely opt out. Personally, they aren’t for me — but it’s good that they’re available regardless.
**These items were provided to us free of charge for review purposes.